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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

How to Become a Video Game Designer in Buffalo, New York

Written by ACR StaffFebruary 15, 2012
Did You Know.....Full Sail University offers online degree programs in computer animation, game art, and game design? Learn more about Full Sail University's online programs.
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Many employment seekers in Buffalo, New York land high-paying positions as animators and video game designers.  With a population approaching 300,000, the city offers numerous high-tech job opportunities.  Companies all over the state of New York hire video game designers.  Most of these companies are based in New York City, but many are right here in Buffalo.

Buffalo Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design

Aspiring animators and video game designers often major in computer science with special focus on digital graphics.  Some study programming with emphasis on animation.  Some are math majors especially interested in game theory.  Buffalo residents seeking degrees for interactive game design typically attend the SUNY-Buffalo or Erie Community College.  Others enroll in one of many training and degree programs available online.  Nationwide educational institutions with online degree programs in video game design include University of Phoenix, DeVry, ITT Tech and The Art Institutes

Working as a Video Game Designer in Buffalo

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The reported average annual salary for a New York State animator or video game designer is around $63,000, with individual salaries ranging from as low as $25,000 up to about $90,000.  However, this data fails to account for the unreported incomes of many thousand self-employed New Yorkers.  Basically, the income of a video game design expert varies based on experience, education, effort, performance, productivity, networking and geographic location, among other things.  In any case, professional animators and video game designers in Buffalo, New York can earn attractive incomes doing jobs they enjoy. 

Many types of businesses in Buffalo, New York employ animators and video game designers.  Local companies hiring for these positions include software publishers, mobile phone service providers, colleges and graphic design firms.  Some designers work for top local ad agencies like Crowley-Webb, Eric Mower, Midtown Promotions or Travers Collins.  Other designers team up with Buffalo motion picture producers like Crosswater Digital Media, Indigo Productions or KMS Commercial. 

More often than not, employers require a degree and previous design experience, even for entry level positions in animation and video game design.  But designers do not necessarily work for a firm, thanks to many million internet start-ups featuring (or wanting to feature) their own video games.  Professional animators and video game designers are often freelance professionals, landing successive gigs as independent contractors.  Some design and sell games to retailers and online consumers.  Others help build interactive websites. 

Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers

A video game designer makes up a game, sets the rules, implements a scoring system and adds enhancements like sound effects and increasingly difficult challenges.  These may include tricks, traps, maps, mazes, puzzles and other surprises, designed to keep players focused on the game.  Then the designer either creates the artwork or consults with professional animators to capture the visual style most appropriate to the game.  Professional video game designers study math, communications, computer science, graphics, engineering, game theory, character development and many other topics.  The goal is to create realistic, action-packed interactive games with authentic mainstream appeal.